Meth cases triple in Lorain County, but heroin and fentanyl still on top

“Last year it was just an explosion,” lab director says.

Meth cases triple in Lorain County, but heroin and fentanyl still on top

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Methamphetamine use is surging across many communities in Northeast Ohio, often surpassing heroin.

Our 19 News Investigation that just aired on Tuesday found the meth police are dealing with now is purer and more dangerous than it was years ago.

It’s not coming from shake and bake labs in houses or cars anymore, it’s being supplied by Mexican drug cartels.

19 News focused on one county that has seen a resurgence in the drug.

Meth submissions to the Lorain County Crime Lab more than tripled in the last three years and 2019 is on pace to be another big year for meth.

Elizabeth Doyle is the new director of the Lorain County Crime Lab.

Doyle has worked at the lab for 12 years.

The crime lab hasn't seen this many meth submissions from law enforcement since it first opened in 2004.

“Prior to 2016, we would see in our laboratory about once a month we’d get a meth case,” Doyle said.

“And after that we started seeing about double that, so about twice a month maybe three times a month. And then last year it was just an explosion. It was three times the amount we had normally seen,” Doyle said.

Elizabeth Doyle is the director of the Lorain County Crime Lab.
Elizabeth Doyle is the director of the Lorain County Crime Lab. (Source: WOIO)

The Lorain County Crime Lab received 31 meth submissions from police in 2016.

In 2017, they received 37 meth submissions.

But in 2018, that number jumped to 108 submissions.

So far this year, through just May, the lab has already seen 41 meth submissions, more than the totals of 2016 and 2017.

It's not just the number of meth submissions Doyle is worried about.

“I've also noticed the weight of the drug, the amount that's in the bag of evidence, has been going up. So we saw that go up tenfold,” Doyle said.

She’s starting to see meth cases every week, but she said heroin and fentanyl are still the number one drugs in Lorain County.

They're so busy, Doyle says they're always working at a backlog.

And that saddens her.

“I have a family, I have young children, and I know someday I’m going to have to release those children out into the world,” Doyle said. “Everybody knows someone who has been addicted."

Doyle tells us they had a recent case where meth was mixed with a stimulant call Ethylpentylone.

Ethylpentylone is also known as bath salts and sometimes it’s found in ecstasy pills.

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